Saturday, July 26, 2008

Things I've Lately Learned

A kitten can't use the "Advantage"-type of flea control until it's about 2 months old.

In the meantime, you can bathe it in baby shampoo or kitten shampoo (not flea shampoo), get as many fleas off as you can that way, then spray flea-killer onto a towel (not directly onto the kitten) and rub the towel on the kitty.

It also helps to use a flea-comb. Have a little cup of isopropyl alcohol within reach to drop fleas into as you pull them off with the teeth of the comb. Kitties endorse this and condemn the previous method.

They are ready to be weaned and eat solid food at about 4 weeks of age. You can tell a four-week-old kitten because its eyes and ears are open and though wobbly, it can walk. A good food to start them on is cat food mixed with a little kitten formula. You won't need the kitten formula for long; they are hungry and once they figure out what canned food is, they eat it eagerly. Keep a dish of kitten kibble out for them to "free-feed" and give them a hearty serving of canned twice a day. If the kitty is reluctant to try the food, hold it in your lap and put a little food on a spoon. Smear a little food on kitty's nose and as she licks it off, her interest will be piqued!

They can also start to use a litter box at this age. Just put a pie pan with litter in it into their enclosure and set them into it from time to time. They will have accidents the first couple of days as they learn to control themselves, but just clean those up. You don't have to do anything to train a cat other than put it in the litter from time to time so it knows the litter is there. Kitty's prefer to go in litter once they get their land-legs.

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